A dark sun rises in the west. The midday heat recedes. Cold billows forth from the caverns below. Your body is sucked into the blackhole on the horizon. You and thousands of dead corpses are animated by hideous magick. From the sky towers of Babylon they descend upon wings of angels, diving downward in their transition to demons. Your toes explode—bones protruding like knives, they claw into the earth. Slowly you slide into nothingness, into the eternal morass that has been wrought forth by demonry. You expect the sounds of screaming but hear none. Nay. Your heart rejoices at the sound of dirty, filthy death metal in the style of the deadest congregations in mid-worship.
The final track, “Scorched” – which shares a name with another GREAT death metal band – features swirling guitars that frenetically tik and tok like a triple-dip cone getting that final layer of strawberry on a hot summer day. The riffs are so delicious you can almost taste their razory edge as they slide down your pathetic throat. The point is: these riffs aren’t full of arpeggios or notes that are five steps apart. They are closely knit, claustrophobic riffs picked at a consistently high rate of speed. The result is an unsettling, anxiety-riddled, and turbulent ride down the Chorokhi River.
Each track is imbibed with a broiling sense of courage to attack the dangerous. Rhythms gallop across class IV rapids like Burt Reynolds navigating the Okefenokee in an airboat. Guitars smash out riff after riff while still finding an appreciation of the sublime, allowing Spectral Voice-type passages in which the guitars hum, squeal and belch sulfurous odes to the other dimensional. And Engulfed provides just enough of a cool down to prepare you for the next round of face slapping awesomeness.
Across the entirety of the EP, the vocals are thick and untamed, spewing infected lava over the experience. In fact, the vocals provide enough sound to make it shocking that Engulfed is a mere trio. They sound much more like a quintet with a vocal soloist up front flexing oiled deltoids at the mere peons who felt worthy of attending their live show. (I mean, not that we will ever have the chance to see live music again.)
And therein lies what makes Vengeance of the Fallen so darn special even at a mere 24 minutes. These three dudes are capable of making massive sounds and composing masterful musical wizardry that is not for the faint of heart (unless you, like me, have a pacemaker in place to catch any missed beats). Take your elderly parents and lock them in a closet because this EP will very much ruin the concept of life they spent 90-some years developing.
Here’s where I make a complaint that is really more of an impassioned plea. This EP fucking rules. There are no ifs, ands, or butts about it (see what I did there?). What doesn’t rule is the production. While yes, the band has outdone themselves, the production lacks that final juicing that brings a band in this style to life. It’s not like this EP doesn’t kick all the ass in the world. It’s merely that this is the sort of album you’re going to want on cassette or CD and not vinyl. Honor the damn band!
Another complaint would be: why does Engulfed take so long between records? Is it because they have terrible stomach ailments that cause them to spend a lot of time in the bathroom? I can’t believe that’s true because many of the great guitarists have written some of their best material while on the toilet. What I’d like to think is that it’s because Engulfed like to put out a quality product. They don’t just jam a bunch of riffs into some cardboard box like a Whitman’s Sampler of Russell Stover’s factory seconds. No. They put in the goddamn work it takes to make sick ass riffs and sick ass rhythms meld up with sick ass vocals so what they produce and release is a sick ass collection of death metal. All hail Turkey.
Absolutely minor and mostly personal bitching aside, Engulfed have completely outdone themselves and that point cannot be stressed enough. This EP kicks all the buttocks in your local neighborhood and makes dudes that deadlift look like poseurs rocking dock shorts, boat shoes, and pink Iron Maiden hats. Old school death metal has frequently sounded this good. That’s precisely why we crave more and more of it.
Don’t miss out on this EP even if you’re the type of idiot that merely watches social media feeds for the latest band of the day. Engulfed is metal. Engulfed is death metal. And if they put out material on a more frequent basis they just might be the “it” band of January 15 to January 19 of 2021.You know, if Blood Incantation takes a fucking break for a god damn minute! RETHINK YOUR LIFE, idiot.